Sydney has witnessed two deaths and a serious injury as a result of collisions between bicycles and heavy vehicles in the last two weeks.
The 11,000 member Bicycle NSW says these tragic accidents stimulate people’s compassion and calls for action, including the state Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay suggesting a licensing system for cyclists.
“But there is no evidence to suggest that licensing would have made any difference to the incidents over the last few weeks or would contribute to a change of culture on Sydney’s roads,” says Alex Unwin, Bicycle NSW Chief Executive Officer
“The fact that there are a host of operational challenges and impracticalities to the licensing of cyclists creates an unhelpful distraction from what should be the government’s first priority – making our roads safer.”
Bicycle NSW recommends that the NSW Government immediately follow the lead of Queensland in trialling minimum passing distance legislation, requiring a minimum of one metre when a motor vehicle overtakes a bicycle rider.
“This will provide motorists and cyclists alike with certainty over what is a safe passing distance,” Unwin says. “We believe this simple message can save lives when it is fully implemented and becomes part of Australian driving behaviours.”
Bicycle NSW in partnership with the NSW Centre for Road Safety, the NSW Police, NRMA, Subaru and Toll Holdings is a supporter of the “It’s a Two Way Street – Show Mutual Respect” Campaign led by the Amy Gillett Foundation.
Other safety actions Bicycle NSW believes require greater attention are educating all road users on the rights of others to safely use the roads, practical training programs to develop rider skills and knowledge as well as education to increase awareness around the importance of visibility by wearing a light and bright reflective clothing; obeying the road rules; riding in a predictable manner, giving hand signals; and planning your route using quieter streets, separated bicycle lanes and shared paths.
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